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Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and…
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Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Cheryl Strayed

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4513623,135 (4.25)54
Member:co_coyote
Title:Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar
Authors:Cheryl Strayed
Info:Vintage (2012), Edition: Original, Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Essay

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Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed (2012)

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I was a bit wary of this book when I first heard about it. It’s a collection of advice columns about life and love, and I couldn’t think of why I needed to read someone else's advice about someone else's problems. But as I began to dig in to each letter I quickly realized that you don't read the book for Sugar’s advice. You read it because she manages to share intimate parts of her own life in a way that makes you feel connected to the entire human race in all its beautiful fallible glory.

She is so honest and vulnerable in these columns. She uses examples from your own life to advise people on each of their issues. You don't have to be able to relate to her experience for these letters to touch you. They reach beyond the boundaries of what small sliver of the world each of us have seen. They get at the center of things, the piece of our hearts that drives us and scares us. She writes about losing love, being lonely, being brave, and being willing to do the right thing in the right moment even if it terrifies you. Often the thing she talks about our painful to read. There are people all over this world experiencing heartbreak in different ways and she never shies away from tough issues.

I was completely blown away by her ability to expose herself to these strangers. By letting herself be so vulnerable even her harshest advice has a tender feel. I admired her ability to speak truth to people. Even if the answer isn’t what they might want to hear, she still told it like she saw it.

Honestly, I wish I’d read this book before reading Wild. I was turned off at first in that book because it felt like she was using her mother’s death as an excuse for her bad behavior. It won me over in the end, but I think if I’d gotten to this one first I would have understood her better. She’s very honest and open about her failings and struggles and that’s incredibly rare.

BOTTOM LINE: Loved it. You don’t have to agree with all or any of her advice, just treat the whole book as a unique memoir. Strayed personal history is woven into every single reply to a letter. She bares her soul to her readers to help them deal with their own issues and the result is beautiful.

A Few Notes:
There are a couple times where she reads more than one letter in a row and then answers all of them at one time. The first time she did this I thought I missed something because I was listening, not reading a hard copy. I was worried that the chapter had skipped ahead of something, so just a heads up.

I listened to an audio version and tried to just listen to a few at a time. I do think they have a bigger impact that way and they are pretty intense. ( )
  bookworm12 | Feb 2, 2015 |
Many, many people recommended this as the best read they'd had in a while. As a fan of Dear Sugar on The Rumpus, I expected to enjoy it, and I did. But...a book full of Dear Sugar was a bit much, I'm afraid. Strayed is like that very earnest friend we all have, the one who likes to lean way over the table and have serious, heartfelt conversations about the meaning of life or the environment. I like that friend, and I like getting together with her occasionally, but I don't want to be her roommate. Reading an entire book of Dear Sugar was like living with that friend.

It seems the ideal way to read this would be to buy it, put it on the shelf, and open it to random questions whenever you need a boost. ( )
  CherieDooryard | Jan 20, 2015 |
After reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things seemed like a no brainer for my next read. I was amazed again how much wisdom and wit could come from one tiny book; from one woman who had experienced so much in her life. With as much humor and it has seriousness, this book has something for everyone, and I truly believe everyone would benefit from reading it. The questions might not pertain to your life, but the answers certainly will, and every new story left me thinking about some different part of my life. If a book can make you think as well as teach you something, than I think it's ultimate purpose has been achieved, and Strayed certainly did this with Tiny Beautiful Things. I would recommend this book to anyone, whether they think their life has been easy or hard, complicated or simple, whether you're searching for answers or simple looking for a great book to read before bed - this is it. ( )
  morgtini | Jan 18, 2015 |
from my Facebook post:

there are plenty of things I could say about the book "Tiny Beautiful Things" by Cheryl Strayed. for example, it's one of the most important books I have ever read. or, I read this book at a time I needed it most. or, this book is for people who think they know exactly who they are and for people who have no f*cking idea who that is.

but mostly, I just want to say this: I strongly believe that every single one of you should read this. or parts of this. go to the library and flip through it. pirate it online. buy a copy and put it in your bathroom, I don't care! read this. something in there will grab you and shake you and perhaps it will be unwanted or uncomfortable but it is entirely necessary. read this. read this. read this. ( )
  emma_mc | Oct 30, 2014 |
This book is pretty much awesome. Mind-blowing. Eye-opening. Thought-provoking. Etc.

There is something in there for everyone and often more than one thing, and there are things that I know I will go back and read again later (which means I have to buy the book because I read a library copy) and probably fill it with markings and underlinings and notes in the margins.

While I was reading this book, I mainly stopped so that I could text quotes to friends in faraway places or tell them to GO GET THIS BOOK NOW.

Also, knowing that Cheryl Strayed lives in Portland, it was fun to see a few sneaky references to the city (the column was written anonymously). I kept track of some of these, my favorite being about going to "see the elephants at the zoo". (We love our zoo elephants. which reminds me, I still haven't seen Lily!! Ack!)

Anyway. Read this book. You don't even have to read it all at once. Buy this book and then look at it when you are sad or bored or have a problem.

Oh, and also, I have read a lot of comments about their being too much of "Sugar"s personal life/experiences in the columns. I don't get that. It's an advice column. When you ask someone for advice you are usually asking them because they have experience with that issue. If I ask a friend for dating advice I am asking her to draw on her dating experience. If a grandparent gives me some advice, they are basing it on an experience that they had, and I will probably take it into account because I know that not only they have had that experience, but that they have also had a long time to reflect on that experience. So I don't get the idea of keeping personal life out of advice. That is the whole point of advice - to hear about others' personal experiences and how they may or may not apply in your situation. ( )
  GraceZ | Sep 6, 2014 |
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Long ago, before there was a Sugar, there was Stephen Elliot. - Introduction
What is this book? It's a selection of Dear Sugar columns. - Part One
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"Tiny Beautiful Things" brings the best of Cheryl Strayed's published and never-before-published online columns in one place and includes a new introduction by Steve Almond.

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